Like many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), employees at Interior Federal Credit Union wear many hats. Tyrone Santos is the firm's accounting manager, and he is responsible for some IT functions. As a result, he found himself sitting at his desk in Washington for close to an hour each night waiting for a backup tape to load before offloading that responsibility to an online backup supplier.
The financial services provider manages $100 million in assets and has 10,000 customers, who rely on it for ATM services, checking, credit cards, mortgages, and other services. The bulk of its IT services have been outsourced to Symitar, a division of Jack Henry & Associates Inc. that provides integrated computer systems to credit unions. However, the financial services firm needed someone to backup its data, and that responsibility fell to Santos.
The financial services company put a couple of backup procedures in place. The corporation would duplicate information onto a server stationed at a nearby branch in Reston, Va. In addition, Santos would take a tape each night to an off-site backup location, which he wouldn't discuss in any detail.
The first option was not ideal because the information could be lost if the two sites were knocked offline by weather or a natural disaster. The second approach was also problematic because the information was not encrypted as it moved from the company office to the off-site location. If the tape had been lost or stolen, the company could have ended up as front-page news because the information was unencrypted.
Such potential problems are pretty common as companies try to backup their data. "Many small and medium-sized businesses do not backup any of their data at all, and others who do sometimes do not do a very good job," said Adam W. Couture, principal research analyst at Gartner Inc.